There are many classes of drones on the market. There are large military craft, passenger carrying drones, commercial drones for inspection services, professional drones for photography, smaller camera drones, all the way down to some fun toy drones.
We explore most of these machines on the site, and today is about the small toy-class drones, fun machines for children and adults alike, but basic machines for beginner flight.
Fun toy drones
Syma X5C: Affordable starter drone
The Syma X5C was our first drone, and we think it would serve you well as your first drone as well. It’s affordable, reliable, and just hard enough to fly that you learn to crash safely. Limited range, and limited capabilities limit this to being just a simple beginner’s drone, but that’s a great place to start for any pilot.
- Great beginner's drone
- Easy to fly
An excellent starter drone, the Syma X5C is resilient, reliable and easy to operate. Nothing fancy here, just a simple toy-class drone to practice flying a drone.
Ryze Tello: Educational starter drone
The Ryze Tello is a great starter drone, it’s capable of indoor and outdoor flight with a few fun flight features that are entertaining and educational. New pilots can learn a thing or two, and more advanced pilots can dive into the coding tasks to design custom flight tracks.
- Educational drone
- Safe for indoor flight
- Fun to fly
The Ryze Tello is one of the most capable and versatile mini drones around, enjoy different designs, code your own flight features, or just fly in your living room for fun.
Hubsan H111: Nano drone for indoor flight
The Hubsan H111 is a fun little drone, and when we say little, we mean it. The drone easily fits in the palm of the hand, and is safe enough for children to fly indoors.
I like to fly the H111 from my desk. It’s easy enough to be fun, and hard enough to master that it continues to hone my skills. The limited flight time can be annoying, but it’s just long enough that I get a short distraction from work, without disturbing my day.
- Fun to fly
- Safe for indoors
- Good trainer
The Hubsan H111 is one of the best nano drones for flying around the house. It is a tiny machine that fits in the palm of the hand, flies slowly and is small enough that it is unlikely to cause harm to you or your house when it crashes. Enjoy a low-risk simple flight experience.
Hubsan H107: Reliable toy drones
The Hubsan H107 series of drones are simple little aircrafts, designed for beginner pilots, the available parts and accessories support a few different flight objectives. A few flight assist features will help keep you stable, and pilots young and old can have a bit of fun flying in the backyard.
- Great beginner's drone
- Simple to fly
If you are looking for a solid starter drone, an inexpensive quadcopter for beginners, the Hubsan H107 series of drones is a great start.
Eachine E019 Paraglider: G.I. Joe + drone
The Eachine E019 Paraglider is almost a gimmick of a drone. It does fly, and we wish we had this when we were kids, but on its own, it’s sort of a terrible drone. Lacking in stability, it’s a bit of a challenge to fly, but as an accessory for your action figure, it’s super fun!
A fun stunt drone from one of the top toy drone manufacturers around, the Eachine E019 Paraglider offers a few different flight modes, all great fun.
Air Hogs drones
The folks at Air Hogs make many, many toy drones for you to consider. They are almost all foam and plastic, offer no cameras and only the most basic of flight, they are toys in the truest sense of the word. If you are looking for fun, not a true flight experience, there’s probably an Air Hogs drone for you.
Special consideration: DJI Mavic Mini
The DJI Mavic Mini is proving itself a very capable drone, and it weighs about the same as most of the toys on the list! At 249 grams, you do not need to register with the FAA before flight, and with the propeller guards, you’re safe to fly indoors. This is not a toy drone, and it costs more than you might be ready to pay for a toy for your child, but if your pilot can appreciate smartphone photography, they’ll appreciate smartphone-quality photography from the sky.
The DJI Mavic Mini is a solid entry into the world of DJI and GPS drones, but for only a little bit more, you can bump up to the DJI Mini 2 to get a 4K camera, greater flight range, and more.
- 249 grams
- Great 2.7K camera
- Very portable
The DJI Mavic Mini is the best drone to hit the market in 2019. It's no Mavic 2 series drone, but we've seen nothing this good under $500 before.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to register my toy drone?
If your drone weights 250 grams, that’s 0.55 pounds, or more, you will have to register with the FAA before you fly outdoors. It does not matter if this is a small toy that a child will just be flying in a secluded backyard, if it meets the weight requirement, and will fly outdoors, it has to be registered. Further, if it will be used for commercial purposes, that is, if you will be paid to fly, or paid for any photos or videos you capture from the sky, that is a Part 107 operation, requiring a different level of registration.
Do I need a drone license to fly a toy drone?
At this time, hobby pilots do not need a license to fly. However, no matter if your drone is a toy or a high-end commercial craft, if you will be paid to fly, or receive compensation for the photos and videos you capture from the sky, that is a commercial operation and you will need to be Part 107 certified.